Tuesday, April 6, 2021

The Good Shepherd

This weekend I was working on a puzzle and decided to listen to the scriptures. It so happened I landed myself in Genesis listening to the story of Jacob marrying Leah and then later, Rachel. I know that story well. But somehow listening to it that day crushed my heart and confused my mind. God is strange. His ways are not my ways. And not only that, I don't understand His ways either! So, when I hit a wall of confusion, I have to go back to the basics...Jesus.

All Truth Can Be Circumscribed Into One Great Whole

I believe that statement is describing Jesus Christ. Christ declared, "I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me." (John 14:6)

Christ is the Way 

"And now, behold, my beloved brethren, this is the way; and there is none other way nor name given under heaven whereby man can be saved in the kingdom of God..." (2 Nephi 31:21)

I have come to discover that there are many 'ways' we can come into "enlightenment". But there is One Way and One Name whereby we may be saved in the Kingdom of God. 

And that is Jesus Christ.

Jesus gives us some profound insight in John 10. In verse one Christ says: 

"Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that entereth not by the door into the sheepfold, but climbeth up some other way, the same is a thief and a robber."

Yes, there are alternate ways to climb up to truths... but Christ taught us something vital - HE is the door of the sheep (John 10:7). He is The Way, The Truth, and The Life. 

Christ shows us what lengths He will go to, to win us:

"I am the good shepherd: 
the good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep."

He is so adamant He says He will give His life for the sheep four times:

11 I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep.

15 ...I lay down my life for the sheep.

17 ...I lay down my life....

18 No man taketh it from me, but I lay it down of myself....

This weekend our family went on a hike up a small mountain and each took turns praying. As I listened to my husband pray, he thanked the Lord "for being the Good Shepherd who gave His life for His sheep". As he prayed that, I was struck how incomprehensible that kind of a Shepherd is. 

In John 10 Jesus speaks in a parable and He said that when the Good Shepherd puts the sheep out - he goes IN FRONT of them. And He says that a hireling, when they see the wolves coming - they will flee. Because they’re paid to be there (hireling). But the Good Shepherd won't. The Sheep are His. He'll give His life for the sheep.

Can you imagine this scenario: The wolves come by night into the pasture and the Good Shepherd runs toward the wolves. The wolves would do what wolves do - they rip the Shepherd to pieces. All in front of the sheep. Can you imagine the sheep? What would they do? Would they stop to observe that the Good Shepherd saved their lives? Would they bow their heads in gratitude? No. The sheep are incapable of comprehending the sacrifice. 

And I can see how appropriate it is to be likened to sheep.

I don't claim to understand the purpose of life. I don't claim to comprehend Him or the Love it took to Atone for me and the entire human race. I am trying. I am animalistic in my desires, my wants, my life. I seek myself first, like the hireling. I flee from things I'm afraid of and scatter far from the Shepherd - just like the sheep. I don't understand all of His ways. Throwing yourself in front of wolves for dumb animals doesn't make sense to me...yet. 
But this Good Shepherd has won my heart.

I'm With You
Nichole Nordeman & Amy Grant